Greece erupts in violent protest as citizens face a future of harsh austerity
May Day clashes in Athens as belt-tightening policies are set to reverse rights won by workers over 30 years
Helena Smith in Athens
The Observer, Sunday 2 May 2010
Athens erupted into violence as traditional May Day festivities turned into a bitter protest against draconian austerity measures aimed at tackling Europe's worst debt crisis in decades.
For the tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets in rallies that quickly descended into clashes with riot police, the show of force was just the beginning – a prelude of the storm that will rock Greece if its Socialist government "caves in" to the dictates of the IMF and enforces policies that have been likened to "the coming of Armageddon".
To make the point, scores of stone-throwing youths chanted "people don't bow down, it's time again for revolution" as a petrol bomb set fire to a police officer in the heart of Athens.
"They say the only way of salvaging our economy is more austerity, but that's a total lie," said Nicolaos Danizis, a 60-year-old shipyard worker participating in a Communist-led demonstration outside parliament. "These latest measures have been cooked up by outsiders and are totally outrageous. They are aimed not at the rich but at the poor. What we are saying here today is that they will pass only over our dead bodies." more